We all grew up knowing about peer pressure, it is just accepted as a fact of life. However, really, it shouldn’t be. Peer pressure sets standards for us that are not real and makes people think they have to confer to be accepted into society.
This is just not true, however, when we are young, vulnerable, or lonely, we can resort to bowing into peer pressure to feel like we are part of something and belong somewhere.
Peer pressure is best known among kids, teens, and young adults. The fact is that it happens in adult life too. Did you ever leave a work party early and have someone call you ‘boring’, or try to make you stay? Yep, this counts!
Kids, teens, adults, are all vulnerable to peer pressure, and when we are in a bad place it is so easy for us to give in to it in order to feel a connection with our peers.
It happens in families too, parents, grandparents, and other relatives can peer pressure us into things we do not want to do. This can be very damaging, and it can even lead to mental health issues if it goes on and is dramatic enough.
In some ways peer pressure is in a similar ballpark to gaslighting, it is just a few levels down from it.
If you want to learn about the types of peer pressure there are look here- https://www.aspenridgerecoverycenters.com/types-of-peer-pressure-5/ but to learn about the effects it has, keep reading.
Why Is Peer Pressure So Bad?
Why is peer pressure so bad? Well, we mostly associate it with kids pressuring each other to skip class, drink alcohol, smoke, do drugs, and so on. So the negative association here is clearly bad.
However, peer pressure can also be present in things we may not realize, a parent pressuring their kid to take up a musical instrument they do not want to play. A friend trying to pressure someone to go on a date with someone they don’t even like.
Peer pressure comes in many forms, many of which we do not often consider. Granted, sometimes it can be used positively, to aid in helping someone better themselves, or help them get out of a bad situation.
But, for the most part, it's bad. It can completely take away a person’s feeling that they have a say in how they want to live.
5 Of the Negative Effects
So, what does this do to a person?
Firstly, it can lower our confidence. Confidence comes from feeling like we are doing well and have control over our lives. Peer pressure takes this away and makes us feel like we are not acceptable unless we do this thing.
If we choose not to do this thing we are often segregated from our peers and treated as outcasts, making us lonely and dropping our confidence.
On the flip-side, if we do bow into peer pressure, we can develop some dangerous habits such as over-consumption of alcohol, smoking, drug abuse. This is common in teens, but it can be just as common in adults, but not as widely acknowledged.
We know these are bad habits, but we want to be accepted and have friends, and it can lead to long-term health conditions.
Academics/ Work Affected
Whether you are a kid, teen, or adult your work and studies can be affected by peer pressure. You are either depressed and sad because you have been socially isolated for not giving in to peer pressure, or you’re distracted because you have developed bad habits.
In teens this is especially important, we all want to be accepted by our peers, and feeling like we aren’t really impacts us.
Development Of Shame Complex
The shame complex leads to hiding things, mental health issues, and more. We may feel ashamed of who we are because we do not ‘fit in’ which leads to self-hate, and feeling like they are not worth as much as our peers.
Shame leads to self-harm, depression, social isolation, and secrecy because they do not feel loveable or wanted by those around them.
Speaking of which, this can all lead to social isolation. Not feeling good enough or that you are unwanted can draw us away from friends and family leading us to become socially isolated.
In some cases, this can happen as we fall in with a bad crowd and become subject to a negative influence that will further affect us.